It seems a lot of people have become fed up with the whole zombie phenomenon. It was a rare occurrence, back in the day, to find a game with zombies in it, Zombies (Ate My Neighbours!) being the only one that springs to mind. Now, every hit game seems to have some tie to zombies. Even Call of Duty did with their Nazi Zombie mode, but why I will never understand. But me? I'm not tired of zombies. I could bash their brains in with cricket bats all day. The zombie movie lover in me just loves being able to act out classic zombie movies, which is why Dead Rising was such a great game for me, being a huge fan of Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The market does, however, seem to be saturated with zombies, just as it once was saturated with faceless space marines. But is Zombie Apocalypse the game that will make you embrace the inner zombie love?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. But the game is a lot of fun nonetheless.
Zombie Apocalypse is a twin-stick shooter in the same vein as Geometry Wars, in which you control movement with one thumbstick and the shooting with the other. The objective is to survive as long as possible, through the 55 days, over a selection of 7 stages which are rotated throughout the game, and to rack up as many points as possible through killing the zombies. Despite there only being 7 stages to span the 55 days, there are normally some neat little changes. For instance, they may initiate a blackout on your area, which restricts your field of vision. This forces you to change up your game and be more aware of your surroundings and, if you can, create pools of light with fire.
There is no real premise to the game other than you're a survivor of the zombie apocalypse and must survive and help other people survive. There are no cutscenes, no screens giving you an outline of the story. You're just a survivor who needs to survive some more, by any means necessary. There are four survivors for you to choose from, with a tiny bit of backstory, but they are all fundamentally the same.
The main aim of Zombie Apocalypse, however, is to kill as many zombies as possible and to rack up the highest score possible. This is done through the way of multipliers. For every five zombies you kill, your multiplier increases. If you kill a zombie with a chainsaw execution move, you gain three to your multiplier, but it also leaves you open for attack, especially in dense crowds. There's also the chance to raise your score even more through helping to rescue survivors. These pop up every now and then and you must protect them from the zombies until the helicopter comes to save them. If the survivor gets eaten, she turns into a "hyper-zombie" meaning she is faster and more tougher than the rest, probably because you pissed her off a bit. Dying resets your multiplier, so you need to be careful of those zombies that grab onto you. It's easy to shake them off, just by wiggling the movement thumbstick.
There are plenty of weapons in Zombie Apocalypse to keep you amused. Your default items are an assault rifle and a chainsaw. These never run out and the chainsaw is a lot of fun to use when surrounded by zombies, just chopping them in half to escape. There are also weapons that drop into the arena, with limited ammo. These range from Uzis to Hunting Rifles, to Molotov Coktails to Rocket Launchers. Each weapon has their own way of destroying the horde and you'll become attached to one certain weapon. For me it was the Uzi, because your character shoots in a sweeping spray, giving you a nice path to move forwards through.
There's also a nice variety of zombies here for you to maim and kill. You have the standard "shamblers" who slowly plod along, gaining on you. These zombies are able to latch onto you, pull you to the ground and eventually eat you if you don't shake them off in time. There are also the granny zombies, who throw needles at you which, if they hit you, cause an instant death. There are also pregnant zombies which cause hellspawn to spit from their stomach at you. However, despite the amount of weapons and the plethora of zombies, after a certain number of stages, you will probably have seen it all and things will become slightly repetitive.
Zombie Apocalypse is a pretty nice looking game. There's enough gore and flying limbs to satisfy any zombie fan. The soundtrack is nice and eerie and suits the locale, although the stupid noises made by the teddy bear distraction sort of ruin this ambience created by the soundtrack.
Zombie Apocalypse is nothing special to the zombie genre. You could replace the zombies with any other type of creature and you would still get the same, fun, twin stick shooter experience. Think of it as Smash TV, but with zombies. There is a lot to enjoy here, especially if you are one of the die hards who play games such as Smash TV and Geometry Wars religiously.
To you few people, I bow to you....you're insane!
- Killing zombies with chainsaws
- Smash TV-esque fun
- Looks pretty nice
- Can get repetitive
- No real story
- Can get annoyingly difficult